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Question Number: 22802

Law 5 - The Referee 2/7/2010

RE: Under 13

Alan Brown of Salisbury, Wiltshire England asks...

The referee gave a goal, the ball was put back on the centre spot when the other team parents and manager where complaining of offside. The ref went to the linesman and he said it was offside (oppostion parent). The ref has then said it was offside and called it back to the position of offside. The flag wasn't raised at the time is this correct?

Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

The referee can change a call provided that he has not restarted play. Since the kickoff had not yet been performed, it is within the referees right to change a decision. The fact that the AR did not follow the correct procedure by raising the flag is another issue that would definitly be addressed by an assessor or referee mentor.

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Answer provided by Referee Tom Stagliano

Soccer Parent Brown

Regarding U13 soccer.

I believe you are indicating that a Club Linesman (a parent for the opposing team) told the referee that there was an offside infraction by your team on that goal scoring play. The referee took that information and decided to nullify the goal and restart with an IFK for the opposing team rather than a kick-off for the opposing team.

There are many games that I referee for which I am the only assigned neutral referee. I personally, do Not ask for the teams to provide Club Linesmen, as typically the only thing I am looking for from them is whether the ball has left the field of play. Since the game of soccer is supposed to be played by Gentlemen and Ladies, I expect the players to admit when the ball left the field of play.

Other than that, a club linesman is not supposed to indicate which team gets the throw-in, nor whether it is a goal kick or corner kick, nor whether there was an offside infraction.

It is possible that one of two things occurred in your game.
Either the referee thought that there was an offside infraction but wasn't 100% certain and the information from the club linesman convinced the referee that his first instinct was correct,

Or, the club linesman, was by chance a licensed referee who happened to also be the parent of an opposing player. I have had referees ask me to be a linesman in those situations (when my son is playing) and many times they ask me to give them some in-sight on an obvious off side infraction that they may have missed.

All soccer should be played Ethically, and one hopes that the club linesman was correct in the advice he gave to the referee, and that ethically he provided similar information against his own team at other times during the game.

Starting as a Club linesman is a great way to get introduced to refereeing. I did that when I was starting out. I got myself appointed as Club Linesman for a local D-1 men's amateur team, got to taste refereeing, and meet lots of referees, and decided that refereeing was indeed for me.

Enjoy the soccer

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alan
In the UK referees are expected to brief club assistant referees as to what duties the CAR will carry out during the game. These instructions do vary depending on the competition. You do not mention if both CARs were assisting the referee during the game previously with offside decisions. As you are probably aware CARs do assist with offside decisions in many games.
Now as regards the decision made by the referee he was entitled to change his decision as play had not restarted. As the kick off had not been taken, the ref can go back to awarding the IDFK for offside if he is provided with information from an assistant in this case a CAR.
The mechanics of this decision though as described leaves a lot to be desired. If the CARs were assisting with offside then the flag should have been raised when the offside player touched the ball. The referee then either accepts that flag with an IDFK for offside or he 'waves it down' if he believes that it is not offside and play continues. If they were not assisting on offside then the referee should be making an offside judgement on each play as it happens. If the ref had any doubt about the validity of the goal from an offside perspective he should indicate that he wants to speak to the CAR immediately to ask what his view of the situation was and then make his decision based on what he saw and any 'new' information from the CAR. The ball at that stage will not have left the PA and both teams will be awaiting the decision.
I expect the reason you ask the question is the manner of the decision which no doubt caused ill feeling in the game. The offside decision could indeed have been correct yet the mechanics raises a question mark which is unhelpful in a game context.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Here in the US we are instructed that club lines (someone affilated with the team) are only to call the ball in and out of play. Part of the reason for that is because too few people have grown up with the game and don't understand either the Laws or the traditions of the game. But another reason is a situation like happened in your game. The CAR is under great pressure from his fans to invent a call that he didn't make at the time of the play. I'm not saying he was right or he was wrong. But if he didn't call it when he saw it, why would he remember after the fact that the player was offside?

I've had situations where my assigned neutral AR, often a newbie, didn't flag for something that I thought might have been offside. Before allowing the goal I questioned him or her, and invariably I'd be greeted by a shrug or a non-commital 'I couldn't tell.'

On the opposite situation, once I was a club AR for my daughter's game. I was excited to see her scoring a goal. But what's this? The center is calling it back for offside. I was so engrossed in her accomplishment I didn't recognize the offside.

While most CAR's are not blatant cheats, they are biased. That bias can cause them to see things differently than actually happened.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

In the US, club linesmen are allowed to tell the referee when the ball has gone out of play and that's all. Doesn't matter if the club linesman has no knowledge, some knowledge, or a certified referee out of uniform, they still only indicate to the referee when the ball has completely crossed over the touch or goal lines. I typically don't use them but if I do, I have them stand near the corner flag and look up and down the 2 lines the entire match.

In the UK apparently the club linesmen may be delegated more extensive duties.

Regardless, the referee is allowed to change his mind about any decision as long as play has not restarted

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